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J Pediatr. 2004 Mar;144(3):363-7.

Growth, energy intake, and meal pattern in five-year-old children considered as poor eaters.

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  • 1Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, and the Departments of Pediatrics, Teacher Training in Rauma, and Biostatistics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.



To investigate whether 5-year-old children considered poor eaters differ from their peers regarding growth, intake of energy and nutrients, or meal pattern. Study design Parental evaluations of children's (n=494) eating at age 5 years were collected using questionnaires, and energy and nutrient intakes and meal pattern of the children were assessed using 4-day food records. Weight and height were measured at birth and at ages 7 and 13 months, and 2, 3, 4, and 5 years. Of the children 30.2% (149) were poor eaters according to the parents. The rest of the sample (n=345) formed the comparison group.


Poor eaters were on average lighter and shorter at birth (P=.026 and P=.020, respectively), and at age 5 years (P<.001 for both weight and height) than the comparison children. At age 5 years the poor eaters on average received less of their daily total energy from warm meals (P=.044) and more from snacks (P=.013) than the comparison group, but the mean daily weight-adjusted intake of energy showed no difference between the groups (P=.153).


There appears not to be reason for serious concern about growth and diet of preschool-aged children considered as poor eaters by parents.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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